Saturday, October 10, 2015

Slow Saturday Special: The Art of the VA

For the wars, against the wars, doesn't matter. This is an abominable outrage, and I can see why they dumped it on a Friday afternoon as Congre$$ was getting out of town.

"VA under fire for spending on art" by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux Washington Post  October 10, 2015

WASHINGTON — A $483,000 rock sculpture that is layered into cubes outside the mental health center at the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., is meant to evoke ‘‘a sense of transformation, rebuilding, and self-investigation,’’ according to designers.

It is part of a renovated $1.3 million courtyard. There is an art installation on the side of a parking garage that displays quotations by Abraham Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt in Morse code, at a cost of $285,000. It lights up.

In what is turning into the latest fight over VA spending, Congress this month is criticizing and questioning the overwhelmed and understaffed Department of Veterans Affairs for spending millions on artwork on its hospital campuses.

Accepted at face value it becomes a horrible betrayal of veterans; when one considers possible deeper motives, one wonders where the money went. This looks like an elaborate ruse to cover up theft of money into black-op, black budget holes and through pipelines that go who knows where.

Altogether, VA Palo Alto Health Care System has spent at least $6.3 million on art and consulting services. The costs come to $4,190,356 at the Palo Alto Medical Center, $1,879,521 at the Monterey Health Care Center, and $280,000 in other budgeted projects.

Who holds tho$e contracts? What well-connected party,, intere$t, or concern?

There is a long history of the federal government spending millions on art at federal buildings. The GSA Art in Architecture Program oversees the commissioning of artworks for new federal buildings nationwide.

Those were different times. 

You want the millions for art, end the wars. Stop making more vets that need help as well as murdering millions of innocents over lies.

Its website says that ‘‘these artworks enhance the civic meaning of federal architecture and showcase the vibrancy of American visual arts. Together, the art and architecture of federal buildings create a lasting cultural legacy for the people of the United States.’’

These guys are so full of themselves its sickening.

Congress has only recently cracked down on the amount it spends on oil paintings of members and agency heads with the ‘‘Eliminate Government-Funded Oil-painting Act,’’ passed in 2013 after media outlets reported that more than $200,000 had been spent on oil portraits of congressional lawmakers and agency heads.

You $ee? Government is one big club, one big party.

A 2008 Washington Post analysis of 30 portrait projects found that the costs ranged from $7,500 to nearly $50,000 apiece and that most of the contracts were awarded with no competitive bidding process.

Separately, a Washington Times report said the federal government spent $180,000 in 2011 on portraits, including paintings of non-Cabinet officials, such as former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson and Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, that cost at least $40,000 apiece. 

Whose kid with a worthless art degree needed to get paid?

The debate over the price of art in VA hospitals comes as Republicans in Congress have stepped up scrutiny of the scandal-tainted agency’s spending, with problems that include covering up patient wait times for veterans seeking care to the troubled $1.7 billion Denver hospital project that exploded in price from an initial estimate of $328 million.

Where are the Democrats? They must support thi$ then, right?

As for the VA scandal, that has receded for the most part even as nothing has changed. The public relations and photo-ops were dutifully fulfilled, and it's been back to business as usual ever since.

This fall, the VA’s problems have continued as the agency’s inspector general found that two senior executives had misused their positions to be paid hundreds of thousands of dollars when they moved to new positions. The agency also used transfers to make sure they could override a freeze on raises.

I'm glad someone was well taken care of.

Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee, called the rock sculpture ‘‘wanton and abusive spending practices’’ by the agency.

VA officials say they are budget-strapped and understaffed to serve a growing population of both aging veterans and millions returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While thousands of troops are being sent back!! Some never return, by the way. 

So who wrote this slipshod sh**?

The agency has faced the largest scandal in its history over the fudging of wait times for veterans seeking urgent care for post-traumatic stress, cancer, and other health concerns.

And some died waiting so the executives could receive raise and promotions on top of their already six-figure salaries. 

Yes, this is the AmeriKan model for single-payer, government-delivered health care so no thank you.

The VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the criticism.

That's the difference between propaganda pre$$ and bloggers: they hold officialdom's feet to the fire and command a response (now wait for the pre$$ release from the government that they can reprint).

‘‘It is simply beyond me why VA would choose to pay to complete the Denver project by cutting medical services and medical facility dollars but not the exorbitant conference spending or bloated relocation expenses or art,’’ Miller said.

It's not beyond me. Every single in$titution in AmeriKa is now a fetid, rank, and rotting hulk of a corrupt carcass.